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Best Places for Runcations in Australia

Running vacations in Australia

People go on a holiday for different reasons - some do it to get pampered, some do it to explore new places and some do it to try out new dishes. However, many travellers right now do it to get fit, thus the birth of runcation. You've probably heard of the word staycation, but what is runcation?

Runcation means running vacation. This is when people travel to join a running event such as fun runs and marathons. Their main goal is to get fit and at the same time enjoy their holiday. Australia is the perfect place to go on runcations because it has many ongoing running events and some even feature amazing scenery.

To guide you on your first running vacation, we have listed down the best places for runcations in Australia. So book a rental car now, pack your running gear and experience the most epic runcation ever!


runners passing at the harbour bridge in sydney

Running Event: Blackmores Sydney Marathon

When: September

Distance: 42.195 km

Recommended Car: A compact car like a Kia Rio or Hyundai Accent will make it easier for you to navigate the crowded city and find a parking space. It can accommodate 4 passengers and can fit in one large and two small pieces of luggage.

This is one of the most scenic marathons in the world as runners enjoy the view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and end their race at the Sydney Opera House. The race begins at Bradfield Park. You can get here via train or ferry as there will be significant road closures during the event. You can park near T1 North Shore Line or Milson Point Wharf.

If you're travelling with kids, you might want to join the Family Fun Run. The distance of this race is only 3.5 kilometres and it starts at the deck of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and finishes at the Conservatorium of Music.


great ocean road running festival

Running Events: Great Ocean Road Marathon and Melbourne Marathon

When: May and October

Distance: 44 km and 42.195 km

Recommended Car: If you are going on a runcation with your family or friends, then a full-size SUV is a more suitable option. Renting a 5-seater vehicle such as a Mitsubishi Outlander or Toyota Kluger will make the trip more comfortable and provide more luggage space.

The Great Ocean Road Marathon starts in Lorne and finishes at Apollo Bay, but there is also a Half Marathon which begins in Kennett River. If one of your mates or family member will drop you off, make sure to be there before 6 am as the Great Ocean Road will be closed at 7 am to give way to the race.

Melbourne Marathon is Australia's largest marathon and the race begins at Batman Avenue and ends at Melbourne Cricket Ground. Unlike other marathons, this race has a slow course wherein they take a different route after the 22 km mark. Parking is limited at the MCG in Yarra Park so make sure to get there early.

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Gold Coast

aerial view of broadbeach in gold coast

Running Event: Gold Coast Marathon

When: July

Distance: 42.195 km

Recommended Car: For a large group of travellers, a full-size passenger van is a perfect choice since it can accommodate up to 8 passengers. There are also vans such as the Toyota Commuter than can fit in up to 12 people.

The start line is adjacent to the Nerang Street intersection on the Gold Coast Highway, but the start line of the Half Marathon and the Gold Coast Airport Fun Run is adjacent to Marshall Lane. The Drop Off Zone is along Davenport Street and you can enjoy free parking at Mal Burke Car Park and Athol Paterson.

The Race Precinct is where all the action happens! Aside from featuring the start and finish lines, you can also choose from a wide variety of food and drinks. There is also an event lawn where you can watch the presentations and see updates of the race.


story bridge in brisbane, queensland

Running Event: Brisbane Marathon

When: June

Distance: 42 km

Recommended Car: If you have a tight budget, an economy car like a Kia Rio or Suzuki Swift is ideal for you. It will save you some cash because this type of vehicle usually has the cheapest rate compared to other car type and is also fuel-efficient.

The race starts in Colchester Street and ends at the Riverstage. If you are arriving via Brisbane Airport, you can rent a car from there and drive around 20 minutes to get to the CBD. There are parking spaces near the start and finish lines such as Wintergarden and Parkade so make sure to reserve a slot early.

Kids can also join the event since there is a mini-marathon especially organised for small children. Take note that participants ages 7 and below need to be accompanied by adults. Enjoy views of Brisbane including iconic Story Bridge in Kangaroo Point.

Ayers Rock

australian outback marathon

Running Event: Australian Outback Marathon

When: July

Distance: 42.2 km

Recommended Car: From Alice Springs, hire an economy SUV such as a Toyota Rav4 and drive around 4.5 hours to reach Ayers Rock. Since it is quite a long drive, choosing this type of vehicle would help you save up on gas and at the same time make the driving experience smoother.

Since vehicles are not allowed at the race precinct, there will be private coaches that will pick you up from your hotel and then take you to the start line. This course may be challenging due to the soft red earth and sand dunes, but the views of Uluru are breathtaking.

If you are just a beginner, you can join the 11 km or 6 km fun runs. For your friends and family who are not joining the race, they can line in at any part of the route and cheer you on.

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